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bostonian in chicago, January 15-20

I'm with nsxtasy on most of the recommendations Evanston wise.
I'd disagree with Addis Abeba though. I think there are much better ethiopian restaurants in the city - Ras Dashen being my favorite. http://www.rasdashenchicago.com/
I'd also highly recommend Cross Rhodes for a very tasty and inexpensive lunch/dinner : http://www.crossrhodes.biz/
For lunch, Al's deli (not the same as Al's italian beef) has great $9ish sandwiches and sugar cookies - http://www.alsdeli.net/
In the area (skokie) Pita in is cheap and wonderful middle eastern food. The $5 business lunch is the best deal anywhere http://pita-inn.com/

As to your questions:
edzo's has good burgers - not the most amazing burger I've eaten, but solid
green zebra is amazing, you'll never think about the lack of meat (although there's usually something meaty on the menu too
)I've never eaten at cafe spiaggia but the main restaurant was one of the best meals I've ever eaten.
Other rec's in the city:
An inexpensive but shockingly good place for lunch or dinner is Urban Belly. Don't be fooled by the location in a tiny strip mall. http://www.urbanbellychicago.com/

That's about all I've got off the top of my head.
Have fun!

Jan 10, 2010
bolivar13 in Chicago Area

Best canned garbanzos

If you have a pressure cooker you can "soak" dried garbanzos in 5 mins rather than overnight which will get them about to the same doneness as the canned ones with what I think is a better texture.

May 01, 2009
bolivar13 in General Topics

Fluffernutter?

My dad loved them and he lived in Chicago his entire life.

May 01, 2009
bolivar13 in General Topics

So, who started the trend for cilantro?

I know this isn't on topic necessarily, but you are aware that this is a genetic inability on your part to actually taste cilantro, right?
A guy on NPR did a great story on it and found - much to his chagrin, that he wasn't a supertaster but instead taste-deficient.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/st...

May 01, 2009
bolivar13 in General Topics

What are you a stubborn purist about?

Rome has a good selection too! One of my favorite pizza places ever was there. You paid by 100g amounts and the two times I went I made sure to sample at least three different types of pizza. Actually, I think that was the first place I ever saw the potato pizza I was speaking of.

May 01, 2009
bolivar13 in General Topics

Regional favorite that you just didn't get once you finally had a chance to try it

Wow... You're out of your mind. Those are amazing.

May 01, 2009
bolivar13 in General Topics

Regional favorite that you just didn't get once you finally had a chance to try it

Ah, that's just a philosophical difference then, I guess :)

May 01, 2009
bolivar13 in General Topics

What's Your Favorite Domestic Beer and Why?

Freshness is extremely important with pilseners - I've had Pilsener Urquell one time where it was flowery and amazing, every other time it's been mediocre.
With Victory and Lagunitas I've had much more success getting good ones, but there are definitely a number of times where they've been nothing special either.
The hop character is the first thing to go, so Chinon00 - you may have just had old beer.

May 01, 2009
bolivar13 in Beer

Home brewers, help! I killed my beer yeast--now what?

Number one - baker's yeast will probably not make the best beer. It'll work but I wouldn't bother.
Number two - what he was talking about was brewer's yeast sold in grocery stores as a nutritional supplement. As far as I know this is essentially dead yeast. So, it wouldn't work for beer.

Apr 28, 2009
bolivar13 in Beer

What's Your Favorite Domestic Beer and Why?

Did you see that the NYTimes just declared the victory pils the best of the american pilseners?
I like it too, but I think I like the lagunitas one better

Apr 28, 2009
bolivar13 in Beer

What are you a stubborn purist about?

Actually, toppings I'm pretty liberal about. I'm not sure who told you that italian pizza was just cheese and sauce but you'd be shocked at the number of toppings on pizzas in italy. Potato pizza is one of my favorites - no sauce, just potatoes and rosemary sometimes with prosciutto.

Apr 28, 2009
bolivar13 in General Topics

What are you a stubborn purist about?

Ha ha, my wife's family is mexican, but long enough ago that some of the family recipes got tex-mexified in the 50's when they were in texas. Enchiladas is one of them. The chili sauce is wonderful but they always make them filled just with chopped onions and cheddar cheese.
I love them, don't get me wrong, but they always make me wonder what they were like before the cheddar was added

Apr 27, 2009
bolivar13 in General Topics

Regional favorite that you just didn't get once you finally had a chance to try it

Well, your number one problem there is requiring a sandwich to be portable. Have you ever had a pastrami at Katz's in NYC. Good luck porting that and sandwiches probably don't get much better.
I personally however love the italian beef. I live in RI now and it's one of my most missed foods. I'm amused that you're wanting to rank it along the cheesesteak because I've always thought the cheesesteak was a decent sandwich but missing the soggy wonderfulness of the italian beef.
I guess that to me, the dissolving bun is half the point of the sandwich.

Apr 27, 2009
bolivar13 in General Topics

What are you a stubborn purist about?

Beer - miller, bud, anything where they add corn or rice as filler should be banned. Corn sugar is allowed for bottle conditioning and I've had a really good red rice beer from hitachino but that's a whole different thing.

American "cheese" - this is not cheese and despite what they end up putting on the lable (pasteurized processed cheese food) it's hardly food either. I grew up eating it on grilled cheese sandwiches all the time but now I can't stand the stuff.

Actually, artificial food in general: fake syrup, fake cheese (see above), fake butter, especially fake meat! I have nothing against vegetarians (vegans are another story) and I love tofu and seitan but if you're not going to eat meat don't try to make your non-meat items look and taste like meat! Enjoy them for what they are. And tofurky is just an abomination.

Cake bagels - bagels should be boiled, anything else is round bread.

Pizza crust - that soggy cardboard nonsense that's under most pizza in New York drives me up the wall. Crust should have some bite to it (think al dente) or even be crispy. I almost always throw delivery/carryout pizza on the stone in my oven to crisp up the crust.

Ok, I'll stop now, that's probably enough diatribe for one day.

Apr 25, 2009
bolivar13 in General Topics

What are you a stubborn purist about?

Totally with you on the espresso - one of the most satisfying endings to an amazing meal is a great shot of espresso.
When you walk into a cafe and see a barrista (what's a male barrista called - a barristo?) pulling espresso by hand instead of pushing a button and walking away then you can almost always count on it being worth your while.
btw - Starbucks doesn't count - their coffee is ok - better than gas station/diner coffee but not any more special than dunkin donuts.

Apr 25, 2009
bolivar13 in General Topics

What are you a stubborn purist about?

Um... the organic label unfortunately doesn't really have anything to do with the way animals are treated. Most organic milk comes from farms that are pretty much the same as regular farms the cows are just fed organic feed. It's a bit better than the alternative, but they're frequently not any better on the treatment issue (other than not using hormones and such)

Even so, I buy organic unless small local is avaliable.

Apr 25, 2009
bolivar13 in General Topics

Cedar-Planked Salmon with Herbed Yogurt Sauce

Anyone else think that the whole cedar plank thing is absurd? Paying upwards of $10 for a couple of tiny pieces of wood that you use once kills me.

Mar 29, 2009
bolivar13 in Recipes